The One About My Gall Bladder
a.k.a. Nobody at the Hospital Has a Clue
October 07, 2004

hi kids,

remember Chalupa? my gender-bending ulcer from miami?

well it turns out he-she wasn’t an ulcer. the painful shim was a rotten gall bladder. and now he-she’s gone forever.

back in February i was having some stomach pains and some chest pains as well. so i went to the Doc and he told me i had an ulcer, and so the Prevacid Regimen began. i do remember Flippy Chinchilla saying that her old boss was having similar pains and was thinking he was having a heart attack and that it turned out to be his gall bladder. but did i think to tell the Doc about that?

no.

why?

because. i’m a moron.

so the Prevacid Regimen would work for a couple of weeks and then it wouldn’t work for a while and then it would seem to work again. who knows what was going on in there. certainly not me. and apparently not the doctor either.

at the beginning on July i started having these horrible, awful pains at night. they would start in the early evening and would last until 3 or 4 in the morning. but only at night.
isn’t that weird? so i asked the doctor about it. “isn’t that weird?”

and he looked at me like you only have pain at night. when noone else is around? munchausen much? and said, “take this Prevacid..for the ulcer.”

and i was all, “look, this pain is so bad that i actually cry. it’s so bad that i almost call someone to take me to the hospital. and i am terrified of the hospital. please. help me.”

and so he was going to order some tests (ultrasound and HIDA scan)for me. but wait! i said. i have already had those tests. 2 years ago. can you please get those tests from that other doctor before i have more tests because i am very poor and i do not have insurance. and i don’t want to spend money on tests i’ve had unless absolutely necessary.

and he said that yes, he could totally do that for me. all i have to do is sign some papers and he can get the tests from the Other Doctor.

now then. in the back of my mind i remember that Flippy’s old boss and i have the same Other Doctor. and that that Other Doctor had given the boss man the same test and that it came out that his gall bladder was working at 80% and i guess that they don’t take one out unless it is working at 70% or less.

but.

it turned out that the Other Doctor had read the damn result wrong and that his was working at 8%. (see how important decimals are, kids?) so for a couple of seconds i wonder if i’ve been living with a bum gall bladder for 2 years.

nah. couldn’t be.
that’s impossible.

so i was supposed to go back to the Doc a week later. but i couldn’t because i was in Ohio for a wedding. and then when i got back from Ohio i was to be in another wedding so i figured why not wait until after all the wedding stuff is over before i go back and have to TCB, that is, get back in touch with the doctor. plus, i figure if between that time he finds those tests and finds something wrong that HE would call ME because he’s a doctor. and aren’t doctors supposed to do that?

so i waited for the weddings.

okay. so let’s back this up a bit. since July i’ve been joking around with my friends that one night they’re gonna get a phone call from me to take me to the hospital because the Mystery Pain has been so bad. and my friends, who are the greatest people on earth, all said, “okay. just give us a call.” or in chris’s case “just bang on the wall.” and of course jimmy was all, “call me. i will take you to whichever hospital you want.”

one night jimmy was with me as i was having my Stomach Pain From The Great Beyond. and he stayed with me for like 6 hours. and the whole time he’s like, “hey, let me take you to the hospital.” and “can i take you to the hospital now?” and “hospital? you? go?” and the whole time i’m all crying and saying, “no no, it’ll go away in a few hours.”

yes i know. i’m a moron.

but my fear was that the pain was like a really bad gas pain. and i didn’t want to go the the emergency room and have the docs run a bunch of tests and come back, “ms. pickle, you have gas. now go home and sleep it off, you big baby.”

and of course my other fear was that something would have to come out. stomach, gall bladder, a section of intestines, whatever. and who has the time or money for surgery, right? i’ve got places to go and houses to paint and plus, it’s not like the pain was every night. nay! it was only once week or so. ain’t no thing.

so.

two weeks after the doctor and the ohio wedding and liz’z wedding (it was a BEAUTIFUL wedding. it was so neat. with the little path. and the feet. and the lights. and oh. it was just the cutest. and also the best party afterwards. i could write a whole weekly on that alone. so fun! so sick! loved it, loved it, loved it! i wish you could have been there.) anyway now all the hoopla is over. and on wednesday night i start getting The Pain. damn.

so i was over at jimmy’s house ‘cos it was xbox night and all the cool people go over to his house to play games and so i like to drop in for a while and talk smack with the boys (and then i promptly leave because, ew! boys!) but that night i stayed longer because my stomach was hurting pretty bad and i didn’t want to move.

eventually i decided to go home so i could lay down and wallow in my own bed. jimmy’s last words to me were, “call me if you decide to go to the hospital.”

so i go home and lay around and cry and finally i decide that if i’m still in pain at 2am then i’ll go to the hospital. so 2am comes along. damn. so i get in the jeep and go to walmart ‘cos i want to try some gas x (again, even though it has never worked before and who am i really kidding here right?). walmart at 2am is very scary. but i go and get the gas x and eat it right in the parking lot on the way to my car.

i sit there for a few minutes and of course there’s no relief. why should it work now? so. there i am. in the jeep. feh.

so i drive to the hospital and sit in the parking lot for a minute or two. who should i call? i guess i should call jimmy. well. hang on. what if it’s just gas or an ulcer? maybe they’ll just give me some medicine and send me home? and then what’s the use of waking up everybody for nothing? it’s 2:30am now, that gives me a couple of hours, lessee what happens. now, whatever you do. don’t start crying.
okay. no crying. got it.

so i go to the emergency room and the place is dead. the triage nurse asks me some questions. and basically says, “so. you came here because…your stomach hurts?”
“um. yes.”
“that’s it?”
maybe i should cry. “yes. it hurts. really bad.”
“how long has it been hurting?”
“today? for about 6 hours. but i’ve had it off and on since July.”
“since July?”
“yes. well, February really.”
“…”
“look. i’ve been busy. and now? i’m not so busy. and? it hurts so bad that i can’t sleep or do anything and so i came here. this? is the last place i want to be.”
“okay. let me go get the doctor.”

the er doc comes in and asks the same questions and gives me the same looks.

“look, i’m gonna rate this pain a 9 okay? and the only reason i won’t give it a 10 is because i’m saving the 10 for when i hurt so bad i pass out.”

“we’re going to run a couple of tests okay?”

“great.”

so they gave me a GI Cocktail which the ER Doc said would instantly relieve my pain…as long as it’s an ulcer.
i drank the numby minty drink and…no dice. which means?

it’s not an ulcer.

PERHAPS WE SHOULD WRITE THIS INFO DOWN ON MY CHART, YOU KNOW, THE CHART WITH MY NAME ON IT THAT THE DOCTORS READ TO KNOW WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH ME.

so i put on the assless gown and take several wheelchair rides to get some x-rays. and then to the ultrasound room and then back to exam room #9. to wait.

i must give props to the ER for getting all those tests done in less than 2 hours.

so i’m in the exam room for about an hour all by myself. by this time i have no dignity. i’m in a hospital gown. and i’m wearing nerdy striped socks.
no. dignity.
and so, with no dignity i proceed to wallow on the bed and moan every 3 seconds. for an hour.

by this time i’m glad that i went to the hospital. but i’m also getting nervous. because i thought i’d be discharged by now. i thought i’d have some medicine and could go home and we could act like it never happened.

oh jaimie. so like a child, you are.

around 6am the nurse comes back in and says, “ms. pickle, you have gall stones. they’re going to admit you and then remove your gall bladder.”

“what?! shhhhhhhit.”

the nurse looks at me in surprise.

“look, may i, um…use a phone?”

“yeah?” she says quizzically, “i’m going to give you some demerol for the pain okay?”

“oh that would be wonderful. but let me use the phone first, otherwise the medicine will make me loopy and i probably won’t be able to dial the phone.”

she looks at me like i’m crazy.

“you’ve had this pain since july?”

“yeah. i know.”

“and you’re just now doing something about it?”

“well, i did go to the doctor. i get points for that.”

“points?”

“he thought it was an ulcer. i need a phone. they are going to be so mad.”

“mad? who? why?”

“everyone. i didn’t call anyone. i thought i could just sneak home.”

“what?”

“i know.”

“i still can’t believe you’ve had gall stones since july.”

“february.”

“huh?”

“may i use the phone?”

“yeah let me go get it, but first let me give you this shot of demerol.”

“wait! the phone!”

“you are in pain aren’t you?”

“yes! tons and tons!”

“here. can you feel that?”

“ohhhh. oh damn. how…can i…talk…now?”

“i’ll go get the phone for you.”

“ohhhh nooooo.”

she leaves. and comes back with a cordless phone.

i study the phone. numbers. hmmmm. 7 7 no. that’s later.

i manage to call mom and dad.

“hello?”

“mom?”

“jaimie?”

“yeah. look.”

“…”

“you know those stomach pains?”

“yeah? *cough cough*

“wellll. i had them some more. so i went to the hospital.”

“…”

“and anyway. they have to take my gall bladder out.”

“oh.”

“they gave me demerol.”

“already?”

“for the pain.”

“where are you?”

“Holy River hospital.”

“okay. we’ll be there soon.”

“‘k. can you call jimmy for me?

“yeah.”

“thanks bye.”

so then i sat there trying to remember laura and kris’s number to see if they would look after the cat. but i couldn’t remember. and liz and chris were still on their honeymoon so calling them would be silly. besides if Toonces gets too hungry she can catch a squirrel or something.

next thing i know i’m being moved to a room. and then i slept for a whole day.

on friday morning they took out my gall bladder. and they gave me no medicine for the pain. even though i asked for it repeatedly as soon as i woke up in the OR.

in fact, the first thing i remember was some lady saying, “jaimie, i need you to throw up for me.”

so i did. it seems i must’ve swallowed a tube or something. there was lots of spitting into this mouth thing that was blowing air into my face. “hey. hey! my stomach hurts! it hurts!”

“okay hon.”

“i have to pee! oh my god. i have to pee right now!”

“okay hon. hold on.”

“no! pee! now! i’m going to piss all over myself right now! oh god my stomach hurts.”

“we’ll give you something for the pain in a minute okay?”

“whatever. i’m going to pee!”

“okay okay. here. sit on this bedpan okay?”

“okay great. i’m not peeing. why am i not peeing?!”

“sometimes it’s hard to pee at first…”

“i have to pee so bad! peee! it’s not peeing!”

“it’s okay. when you get back to your room…”

“room shmoom! pee! god my stomach!”

minutes later i’m back in my room and the nurses anre moving me to my bed.

“no! bathroom! now! i have to pee!”

“just a minute jaimie. we’re gonna get you on your bed so we can…”

“i’m gonna pee all over the place! and my stomach is killing me.”

“let’s get you…”

“pee! pee! pee!”

“fine. let’s get her to the bathroom. hey she’s got a bedpan.”

“i know!!! and i’m trying to pee in it!”

they get me on the toilet and….nothing.

“ohhh god…why can’t i pee? it’s right there!”

“here let’s run the shower okay? sometimes running water helps.”

“ohhh my poor peeee!”

after sitting there for two minutes i finally peed. like 800ccs of pee.
so much pee.
glorious urine!

i never did get any pain medicine. finally two hours later mom went and got some nurse to give me something but it didn’t take away any pain. bitch!

oh but they kept pumping me full of saline and antibiotics. 6 bags of each the whole time i was there. that = lots of pee.

then then then, at the end of the day some other nurse (never saw the same one twice) came in with a bag of prevacid and hooked it into the IV.

“what’s that?”
“prevacid.”
“what? why?!”
“the doctor wanted you to have it.”
“but i don’t have an ulcer.”
“you don’t?”
“no. they took out my gall bladder.”
“oh. well. doctor’s orders.”
???

always with the prevacid! i’m certain that the docs are getting kickbacks from the prevacid people.

ways in which the hospital is a total clusterfuck:

on thursday i was in and out of sleep most of the day however, the nurses (of which i saw at least 50 different ones) came by to prick my finger every four hours. not because i’m a diabetic, but because when i checked into the hospital my blood sugar was low and they wanted to “monitor” that for me.

do you think it’s possible that the reason my blood sugar was low was because i hadn’t eaten anything in 8 hours?! perhaps? it was 2:30 in the morning! gimmie a cracker and we’ll move on!

so every four hours. prick. hmm. it’s at 64. do you think you could drink some juice for me?
yes. god. anything. i’m starving.

then. i was supposed to be on a Clear Liquid Diet.

do you think they gave me any broth or juice or anything for lunch?
no.

so at 6pm they come in and my blood sugar is at 48. “hon, do you think you could drink some juice for me?”
“hell yes. in fact, bring me one of everything you have.”
” i just don’t know why your sugar is so low.”
“perhaps from the lack of food?”
“oh ha ha. i’ll look into it for you.”

never saw her again.

then later that night a nurse come in with a bag of ice.
“i brought you some ice!” she cheerfully says.
“what for?” i ask.
“so you could have some ice in your water.”
“what water?”
“where’s your cup?”
“i don’t have a cup.”
“where’s your pitcher?”
“what pitcher?”
“let me go get you a cup and pitcher.”
“okay.”

never saw her again.

the next day after surgery they say i can eat whatever i want. lunch comes in and it’s a Clear Liquid Diet Lunch.
“hm. beef broth.”
dad’s all, “what the hell?”
i’m all, “screw it, i’m starving. get me a straw.”

then that afternoon both doctors tell me i can go home. great. so a nurse comes in and we’re all, “where’s the wheelchair?” and she’s all, “she needs one more bag of antibiotic. she was supposed to get this one at 6am but never got it.”

now. the thing is. i did get that bag of antibiotic at 6am. but no one wrote it down. because everyone has their head up their ass.

that morning while i was laying there being “prepped” for surgery they stop everything and i hear them on the phone, “jean? did she have her 6am antibiotic? i’ll hold.”
2 minutes later
“what? i’m waiting to see if she had her 6am antibiotic. fine. i’ll call.”

“bill? did ms. pickle have her 6am antibiotic. yes i know. i know that. but it’s not signed for in the chart. who gave it to her? well it isn’t signed. fine. i’ll call.”
3 minutes later
“i need to talk to someone…yes. ms. pickle was supposed to have an antibiotic at 6am. yes i am aware of that. yes. yes i know but no one signed the chart. ok i’ll ask her.”

“ms. pickle?”

“yes.”

“did someone give you an antibiotic bag this morining?”

“yes. they did.”

she gives me a disbelieving look then talks to the phone, “she says they did, but i don’t have a signature. ok. well. ok but that’s why the chart is there. i know that barbara. i am not taking the blame for this. how many times do i…no! and another thing, i’m sick and tired of you all changing things around and then not telling us. …yes you do. and then my people ask me about the proper protocol and i tell them what i was told by you, but then they tell me that your people are telling them to do it another way. you make me look like an idiot everytime. make up your mind about how you want things done and then leave it!” then she slammed the phone down.

the hospital is totally wack.

next week’s epitomb: What the Gall Bladder Actually Does

jaimie” sans gall bladder” pickle

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